Eddie Goggin pays tribute to a rugby great
On the Northside of Cork City, in the late 1930’s, beneath the shadows of the renowned St Mary’s Cathedral, and the world famous Bells of Shandon, was born a legend that has graced the Irish rugby scene for many, many years, at all playing levels and then going on to serve in a plethora of administrative posts, all the way to becoming the President of the IRFU.
Noel Arthur Augustine Murphy was born on the 22nd February, 1937, into a vibrant Cork sporting family, which, up to date, incidentally, is the only family to have represented Ireland over three generations at international rugby, namely, Noel Snr, Noel himself, and his son, Kenny Murphy, giving them the only father, son, and grandson, to be capped in three successive generations.
Noel was educated and played rugby for Christians College while at school, and on leaving joined, just like his father, the Cork Constitution Rugby Club, which still ranks as one of the most successful teams in Irish Rugby. Noel made his international debut for Ireland on the 18th January, 1958, against Australia, a game Ireland won 9-6. In a glittering career between 1958 and 1969, Noel was capped on 41 occasions, during which time, playing mostly as a number 7 in the forward set-up, he scored 5 tries, the first one coming against Wales on the 12 March 1960, at Lansdowne Road, a game that Ireland won.
At this stage Noel had become a regular on the Irish team, and tries came again in 1964 against England, and two more against Scotland in 1965 and 1967. Noel became captain of Ireland on the 21 January, 1967, against Australia, at Lansdowne Road, a game which Ireland won 15-8.